Thursday, February 26, 2009

a Day and Dinner . . . with a Perfect Stranger

Two book reviews in one. Two very good little books by David Gregory.

Dinner with a Perfect Stranger was easy to read. It took me a quick two nights to read the story about a workaholic husband/father, Nick Comiskey is in his early 30's, successfully navigating his career as he puts in 60-70 hour weeks, all at the expense of his wife, Mattie, and daughter Sarah. Mattie and Nick are living the life they always dreamt of, success with all of the perks. However, not all is rosy. In fact Nick and Mattie are both unhappy.

Nick receives a strange invitation to have dinner at an upscale Italian restaurant with . . . Jesus. Nick thinks it is a joke, but decides to go anyway. He’s curious about what will happen and who this jokester is.

Nick is not a church goer, and for the next few hours Nick and Jesus (in a blue suit) have dinner together. Nick and Jesus discuss religion, different religions and spiritual longing. Nick tries to rebuff all of Jesus’ main points. At times, Nick is surprised that Jesus agrees with him on his opinion of organized religion. Jesus talks about the pain Nick has experienced throughout his life and the way to find healing. Nick struggles with much of what Jesus is telling him, and answers Jesus’ questions with more questions.

This was a fun book which has some really great reminders about what it means to believe, really believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior; and what that relationship does for a person. The book is similar to a sermon, but told in story form which makes it more interesting than to hear somone (like me preaching it). Jesus also discusses and refutes many of Nick’s thoughts about other religions, which may help the reader as they consider what other religions offer.

This is an excellent little book to read, and a great gift book as well.

The sequel to Dinner with a Perfect Stranger is a Day with a Perfect Stranger. In the sequel, Mattie is the object of a conversation with Jesus, which occurs while she is on a plane taking a sought after business trip. Mattie is tired of the new Nick. Nick is always reading the Bible, helping more around the house, more attentive to her needs, yet she now wants the old Nick. She is considering divorce and has an appointment set up for the following week.

She boards the plane and ends up sitting between two men, one is what the world would call an obnoxious Christian. He was in her face talking about the need to embrace Jesus as Lord and Savior. Eventually he falls asleep, much to Mattie’s joy. On the other side of her is a guy named Jay who strikes up a conversation with her. She ends up telling him her story, her view of her marriage and Nick’s obsession with Jesus, the losses she has experienced and her own ambivalence with religion.

She is thrilled when the man sitting next to her has the same negative views of religion, only to discover that he believes in God and embraces Christianity. Jay explains he is in business with his father and works as a counselor and travels extensively. She later learns he can talk any language at any time.

Mattie and Jay talk throughout most of the fight. End up bump into each other at Starbucks, then end up on a connecting flight together, sitting next to each other again. As a result of these conversations with Jay, Mattie begins to question her perceptions of reality, god, religion and life in general.

The book ends very open ended, as we can only assume Mattie goes home, wraps her arms around Nick and they live happily ever after. That is just a little trite, not reality, but of course this is a book. The purpose is to help us to see Christianity is about faith in Jesus, not to follow a set of mandated man-made rules. We are challenged to view Christianity, not as a religion, but as a relationship with Jesus, the Christ. A good sequel; and a good gift to giveaway. and has both books available as a boxed set for only $12.89 or $13.99, respectively. Purchase two boxed sets at Amazon and you should receive free shipping. That’s an excellent deal.

Go to ($12.89 for both) or ($13.99 for both)


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